Video games have become an increasingly interesting medium for the introduction of LGBT characters in mainstream entertainment. It makes a bigger splash when such characters appear in films or on television, but LGBT acceptance takes a step forward each time the public embraces a new character who happens to be a member of this community. And that makes LGBT gaming figures potentially invaluable.
There are actually a number of examples of gay gaming characters in recent years. But one that stands out in particular as an interesting model is Kung Jin from Mortal Kombat X. As pointed out in a list of the best gay characters in mainstream games, anything other than straight sexuality tends to be made very obvious—almost caricatured—in fighter and adventure games. Kung Jin stood out because he was just a typical tough fighter, and his sexuality was mentioned in passing, almost unnecessarily. This seems like a particularly useful approach in that it’s not stigmatizing, mocking, or otherwise trivializing LGBT characters. It’s merely including them alongside everyone else.
This begs the question of whether the best approach to injecting more gay characters into mainstream games might be for developers to casually work in details suggesting that established, accepted characters are actually gay. Because sexuality isn’t always much of a focus in major gaming franchises, this might actually be pretty easy for them to pull off. We don’t really know or care about the sexual preferences of a lot of the bigger video game characters out there. Here are just a few that could enter the conversation and make things interesting.
We’ve seen the Tomb Raider franchise return with a vengeance in recent years. With a film coming out as well, it may be difficult for developers to introduce the idea that Lara Croft is gay or bisexual (because it’s unlikely to be that way in the movie), but the idea has been discussed online, and there’s nothing really stopping them. This is exactly the sort of mainstream character whose sexuality could be revealed without any actual changes to the series. She doesn’t have an important or established love interest, and she’s thoroughly in control of herself.
It may seem as if Batman is winding down in gaming, given that the incredibly popular Arkham series has ended. However, the character is still out there in a few different games. Some might be surprised to learn that a listing of the various games offered at casino sites across the internet still includes a Dark Knight game. There, a Batman like the one from Christopher Nolan’s films is put to use to liven up a slot machine, but there’s not much to be done with sexuality in that case. There are, however, a few mobile games and an ongoing Telltale Games series in which Batman could casually be said to have LGBT leanings. Then again, this might be an unrealistic move for such an iconic character, but given that his relationships with the opposite sex rarely work out there might be something there.
Suffice it to say there have been more than a few discussion threads about the possibility that Ryu and Ken, two of the faces of the Street Fighter franchise, have a thing for each other. Most of these games have very little going on in terms of story or character development, so we really wouldn’t know. Even if Capcom were to simply state that Ryu and Ken have a history, it would be huge news for LGBT gaming.
Any Shooter Protagonist
The Call Of Duty franchise can’t seem to get a female protagonist right, so they’re pretty stuck not just with sexuality, but gender too. Nevertheless, it would be something to see any of the mainstream shooter franchises introduce an LGBT protagonist. As with the other examples on this list, it would be pretty easy to do. There wouldn’t need to be any sort of activity or character development to indicate sexuality—merely a casual mention here or there of a lead character’s preferences.
Finally, there’s Luigi. We know Mario is gaga for Princess Peach, but there’s never been a word about who Luigi might be into. This is perhaps the least likely of the bunch, but it would be a fascinating and welcome twist to Nintendo lore.
Last Updated on Jan 19, 2017